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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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The earth moved after this baby was born

Wilder Ruth Beals

I thought Jonas Beals, one of our reporters, had one of yesterday’s best earthquake stories.

Jonas covers Stafford County for our paper and is our music columnist. He’s also the tallest guy in the newsroom. He and his wife, Karin Beals, were at Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center when the earthquake hit. Karin has just given birth to their first child, a 10-pound baby girl, whom they named Wilder Ruth Beals.

Wilder was born at 8:11 a.m., a scheduled C-section performed by Dr. Joon Kil. By 1:51 p.m. when the earthquake hit, Wilder, Jonas, Karin and their friend Nancy Fralinger were in a room on the second floor of the hospital. Karin was in bed, with Jonas and Nancy on the couch. Nancy was holding the baby.

“We felt the rumble and looked at each other,” Jonas said this morning. At first, they thought that a truck ran into the hospital, or that something exploded on Interstate 95. It took a second, he said, to realize that the commotion was caused by an earthquake.

“The building was moving pretty good,” he said. “It was disconcerting.”

Karin and Wilder Beals. Photos by Jonas Beals.

Jonas said he told Nancy to take the baby and stand in the doorway to the bathroom, while he grabbed his wife’s bed and tried to pull it toward the bathroom. “I moved it about a foot before I realized she was attached to about eight different lines,” he said. Meanwhile, Nancy, still with the baby, moved to a stool in the shower.

 Jonas said a nurse came by after a few minutes to check on everyone. She brought a wheelchair to the room and said they would use it to move Karin if anything else happened. Later someone came by to ask that all visitors leave the hospital, and that patients and their families stay in their rooms.    

Karin, Jonas and Wilder Beals

Jonas said this morning that everything is back to normal, and that his wife and daughter are doing fine. Wilder will forever be able to brag that her birth had seismic consequences, or that the earth shook after she was born. Of course, Dad will have to teach her Carole King’s song, “I Feel the Earth Move.”